1762 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Langhorne

Anonymous, "To the Rev. Mr. L-ngh-rne. Horace Book II, Ode 14. imitated" London Chronicle (13 April 1762) 347.



With how impetuous a career
Runs out of sight the rapid year!
Believe me, L-ngh-rn, tho' we pray,
Like my good grandame, thrice a day,
Old age and coughs, and aches and agues,
In spite of piety will plague us.
Time out of mem'ry has been made,
And gallops over good and bad.
Tityrus and Geryon triple-fold,
The Broughton and the Slack of old,
Felt both, alack! a fatal day;—
And are we half as hard as they?
Assiduous Charon quick as thought,
With ling'ring culls will cram the boat,
Nor will he bend or bate the least
To Dick the Squire, or thee the priest.

What tho' you scape the wind and rain,
Nor teaze for gold the fretful main,
Ne'er be by grace or sense foresook,
To cut a purse, or make a book;
You soon must quite your cure, to be
With Sisyphus and company.

Ah! then at last the love-struck swain
Shall cease of Sylvia to complain,
You'll — won't you think on many a day
That you and I have laugh'd away,
Of many a smiling social scene,
Of many a gambol on the green;
And look confoundedly askew
On sooty cypress and dull yew?

Indeed if grapes or barley grow,
Or snipe or woodcock sly below,
The sight some small relief may be;
But not a single trout you'll see.
"To fish (you'll cry) in such a flood!
O cursed Cocytaean mud!
Was it for this I wore my eyes
In forming artificial flies?
Was it for this, that better far
I threw my line than J—y G—rr?"

When you are dead, and fair and clear
Our common sheets of song appear,
Your son will think they serve to shew,
Your brains and mine were but so-so.
He'll see how you have slily stole
From Seed and South your sermons whole;
He'll wonder how you could for shame,
Then shake his head, and do the same.